COLTON Joseph P. Kraszewski is donating one of his kidneys to his mother-in-law after a 7-year battle with kidney disease, and his family is holding a fund raiser to help them both shoulder the costs.
Longtime Colton resident Denise G. Scovil was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2006. Mr. and Mrs. Kraszewski lived in Utica at the time, but they moved up to Colton to be near her. Both were tested to see if they would be valid donors, but Ms. Scovil said they should wait to start a family before committing themselves to such major surgery.
Ms. Scovil was added to the list of those waiting for kidney donors. Others who knew her said they would donate. Some backed out, some were not compatible.
Six years passed. Ms. Scovil has made three trips a week to Ogdensburg for dialysis treatment at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center.
Thats no way to live, Mr. Kraszewski said.
The Kraszewski now have two sons, ages 2 and 4. Last year, they were retested to see if their kidneys were compatible with Ms. Scovils. Mr. Kraszewskis was.
His wifes was not.
I wasnt a match. I felt kind of guilty, she said.
Mr. Kraszewski has spent the last year undergoing regular testing at Albany Medical Center as doctors make absolutely sure the transplant will not harm him or Ms. Scovil.
Right up until the last minute you could get denied, he said. It makes you feel like a lab rat.
The surgery will likely be performed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, which has state-of-the-art facilities to ensure Ms. Scovils body does not reject the new kidney.
This will require both of them to make frequent trips to Maryland, and it will leave Mr. Kraszewski unable to work for about two months.
He is self-employed as a logger.
He says he is happy to help his mother-in-law, although he is a bit nervous. The surgery will be in early April.
Ive never been under the knife, so Im pretty nerved up about this whole situation, he said.
In order to help both of them cover the travel costs, medical expenses and lost wages, a benefit will be held for their support on March 2.
Mr. Kraszewski said he didnt like the idea at first.
Ive never been one to take a handout, but my wife talked me into it, he said.
The event will be held at 11 a.m. at The Canoe Place Inn, 5726 Route 56, Hannawa Falls. A $3 donation will be taken at the door. The event will include food, live bands, a Texas horseshoe tournament and a 50/50 raffle.
About 100 items have been donated for an auction, including a two-night stay at a Lake Placid Hotel.
Participants are encouraged to wear green, the color of kidney disease awareness.
Donations can also be made at www.giveforward.com/helpjoegivethegiftoflife.
All money raised will be put towards current and future expenses for both Mr. Kraszewski and Ms. Scovil. If there is any left over, it will be donated to the National Kidney Foundation.
Hopefully, soon well have a miracle, and life will be back to normal, Mrs. Kraszewski said.